Pig feeding is a major cost for pig operations, and it can account for more than 65% of the cost of commercial pig production. Pigs require feed to meet biological needs for maintenance, growth and reproduction which are guaranteed by feed efficiency (feed conversion rate), and the feed efficiency is effected by pig feeder types and settings.
With the development and change of pig housing and pig production mode, pig farmers realize that feed trough service has significant effect on pig performance.
According to the research from Europe, unreasonable size or design of pig feeder trough can reduce 20% daily feed intake of pigs, thus impairing the pig growth rate. The design and setting of pig feeder trough should be based on a principle of easy and normal feed taking for pigs.
How to Fix the Site and Number of Feeding Troughs in Pig Farms
The site and number of pig feeding troughs are determined by the space of the trough for pig taking feed and the growing condition of pigs.
—Pig trough feeding space
1.By employing automatic feeders, the width of pig feed trough space should be 0.3m for each sow;
2.By raising pigs in groups, the width of feed trough space should be 0.6m for each pig.
—Pig growing condition
1.For the 5.5-13.5kg piglets in early stage of the incubation period, there should be no more than 2 piglets for each feeding trough;
2.For 13.5-23kg piglets in the incubation period, there should be no more than 3 piglets for each feeder trough;
3.For 23-34kg pigs in the incubation period, there should be no more than 4 pigs for each feed trough;
4.For 34-100kg pigs growing-finishing pigs, there should be 4-5 pigs at most for each feed trough.
Moreover, feeding mode is another determining factor of feeding trough numbers. In restricted feeding mode, pigs are taking feed along the feed trough in rows, however, in self-feeding mode, pigs are taking feed from different directions with no such order as restricted feeding, so more feeding troughs are needed.
The setting site of pig feeder trough also has great influence on pig feeding efficiency. The installation position of pig feeding trough should be base on an easy feed-taking basis. The disc-shaped feeder trough can be positioned in the center of the pig barns, so that pigs can take feed from all directions; several straight-shaped feed troughs can be placed back-to-back or in the center area. For the confined pig house, the feeder trough should not be too close to the sleeping areas for pigs.
The Commonly-used Pig Feeding Troughs
The feeder trough is a necessary facility in pig operations, and it has various types used for large-sized pigs, medium-sized pigs and small-sized pigs, boars and sows, etc. The pig feeding troughs with different designs and sizes are suitable for different pigs.
1.Feed troughs for the sows: they have basically the same design, but the differences are the making materials, size and price. Usually, the sow feed trough can be made of cast iron or stainless steel or plastic. And they are often used in the sow crates and the farrowing crates. The stainless steel feed trough for sow has the same specification as the cast iron trough, however, the stainless steel tough costs a little more than the cast iron trough.
2.Piglets feeding troughs: they are supplementary feeding trough for piglets which can be divided into cast iron types, stainless steel types, plastic types, and cement types according to the makings. And the plastic ones and cement ones are cheap, but the cement ones are not easy to clean, which will cause diarrhea of piglets. Supplementary feeding is very important for piglets’ growing, and the best time to feed piglets is 5-7 days after birth. This kind of feeder is specially designed for piglets feeding and it is usually used for supplementary feeding when the lactation yield of the sow begins to decline or during the weaning period by installing it on both sides of sow crates or using separately.
3.Double-side dry/wet feeder troughs for nursery pigs: they are available for 40-50 pigs of 2 hurdles. This feeder is a kind of new pig raising technology being popularized, because both feed and water can be accessed by it, which can save 5% feed and improve pig watering problems.
4.Double-side dry/wet feeding troughs for growing-finishing pigs: they have the same working principle.